Asthma is a common respiratory condition that millions of people suffer from. There’s no cure for asthma, but there are treatments that can help manage the symptoms.
CBD is a natural compound that’s becoming increasingly popular for its potential health benefits. Some people believe that CBD may help with asthma — is it true?
Read on for what we know about CBD and asthma.
Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that causes the airways to swell and narrow. This can make breathing difficult and trigger symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
It’s estimated to affect about 25 million people in the United States alone.(1) And symptoms can range from mild to severe.
While symptoms can range in severity, the following are commonly seen in asthma patients:(2)
No one knows for sure what causes asthma, but it’s believed to be a combo of environmental and genetic factors. Also, during childhood, asthma seems to be more common in boys, whereas in adulthood it’s seen more often in women.(3) Having other conditions — like allergies — can increase your likelihood of having asthma.
And various things can trigger an asthma attack, including:
You can’t cure asthma, but treatments help to manage the condition. Asthma treatments aim to relieve symptoms and prevent asthma attacks.
The various treatments include:
The need for effective asthma treatment has people wondering if cannabidiol can play a role in helping asthma.
The biggest reason people are interested in CBD for asthma is because of its anti-inflammatory properties.(4) Persistent inflammation can lead to chronic conditions like allergies and asthma.
Read more about CBD and seasonal allergies in Can CBD Help Curb Seasonal Allergies?.
Previous research has found that CB1 receptor activation can have a bronchodilation (relaxing muscles in airways) effect.(5)
Since cannabinoids like CBD can interact with CB receptors in the body, this might be the mechanism by which CBD could help with asthma.
A 2019 animal study found that CBD reduced inflammation and hyperresponsiveness in the airway.(6) The data suggests that CBD might reduce the inflammatory response in allergy-driven asthma.
With so few studies, it's hard to say for sure if CBD is effective for asthma. But what we've seen so far is promising. <Cue sigh of relief!>
If you decide to try CBD for your asthma, keep a few things in mind.
First, make sure you’re getting a top-tier CBD product from a reputable source. There are many low-quality products on the market. And you don't want to waste your money on something that won't work. Or worse, has unwanted chemicals that could irritate your asthma further.
Psst…savvy buyers — check out our article How To Know You're Buying Pure CBD Oil.
You might want to avoid CBD vapes as those might aggravate your sensitive lungs even more. And topical CBD is best when applied to the skin for localized relief, so it isn’t likely to be effective for asthma (though if your asthma has you stressing out — a topical might help you chillax).
Orally-consumed CBD products are likely to be the way to go for asthma. A highly bioavailable CBD tincture or CBD oil can be placed under the tongue for sublingual absorption. This method ensures that CBD enters the bloodstream quickly and bypasses the digestive system.
While CBD may offer some benefits for people with asthma, it's important to remember that there is no CBD-based medication approved for treating asthma.
While CBD is regarded as generally safe for adult use, a few mild and temporary side effects have been reported. These include:
What you should be most concerned about is if CBD will play nicely with the other supplements or medications you take.
CBD has known interactions with some medications. These interactions can either increase or decrease the effectiveness of the medication or cause unwanted side effects. However, it’s not clear if CBD has interactions with asthma medications specifically.
There’s no general suggested dose of CBD for asthma. The CBD dose that’s right for you will depend on some factors, including your weight, the severity of your asthma, and your body chemistry.
It’s always best to start with a low dose of CBD and increase gradually as needed. Check out the label or package for your CBD product for suggested use.
If you're thinking of adding anything new to your asthma treatment plan — including CBD oil — be sure to consult with your medical team. They can help you weigh the potential risks and benefits of using CBD, plus let you know about any interactions it could have with your asthma medication.
Your doctor can also warn you of interactions CBD may have with any other medications or supplements you take for non-asthma health conditions and contraindications that apply to you.
In a nutshell, your doctor should give his or her two thumbs up before you try CBD.
CBD’s been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help people with asthma. Animal studies have also shown that CBD may help reduce airway inflammation due to asthma. However, more research is needed to make any conclusions.
People with asthma should speak to their doctors before trying CBD as a potential treatment.
If you’re ready to give CBD a go, look for high-quality products from trustworthy retailers. Consider trying a CBD oil sublingually for quick absorption into the bloodstream. And remember that you may need to adjust your dosage until you find an ideal amount for you.
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